The various media organisations of Bermuda have put together and adopted a Media Council Code of Conduct. This is to be welcomed, and while the Code in itself seems fine, I encourage readers add their thoughts on how to improve the Code as is; feel free to do so below after reviewing it.
Now, while the various media organisations took the lead in drafting the code and adopting it they also reached out to some of the local bloggers for their constructive criticism. To me this showed that the media recognise that the blogs serve as a new form of media, as well as, in their own way, a form of watchdogs for the established media.
This blog, and I reckon all the others, do not claim to be media in the traditional sense. I am not a journalist, and to my knowledge none of the other bloggers are, or have any journalistic training. Our sites are little more than glorified letters to the editor, just our opinions and reactions to developing stories and events. Some of the sites are associated with some of the political parties, but most are not.
When the media announced their adoption of a Code of Conduct they listed the organisations that had adopted the Code. These included the traditional media, both newspapers and the various broadcasting companies. They also included some of the new media, such as the online news sites Bernews and Bermuda Network News. Curiously they also included the blog 21 Square.
Denis, the owner and author of 21 Square, has provided a post explaining his reasoning for making a point of being included under the Code. Basically he has done so in order to encourage ‘the other media and blog sites to adhere to the standards proposed by the Media Council Code of Conduct’.
While there is nothing wrong with those sentiments, as Denis admits it will be a bit of a stretch. Personally, I do not think the Code is applicable to blogs. At most I see it as a guideline. Furthermore, I am wary of putting the blogs in a position where they are subject to regulation. Just to clarify, there is nothing in the Code which I think poses a threat to my postings. In general I don’t think I personally write anything that breaks any of the Codes conventions. I don’t control what other people write, although I do try to moderate fairly and as little as possible.
So, while I respect Denis’ decision, I don’t really know what the practical benefits of doing so will be as far as blogs are concerned. My question to readers – and to my fellow bloggers – is should the Code apply to blogs and forums, and if so, how?